By A Charm And A Curse by Jaime Questell | ARC Review

 

BY A CHARM AND A CURSE BY JAIME QUESTELL

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication Date: February 6th 2018

Synopsis:
Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

Goodreads | Amazon | Entangled

 

Leslie smiles at the girl with a mixture of pride and tentative hope. “It took us a few days to get Sidney set up somewhere else, and I’m sorry about that. But this wagon belongs to the occupant of the box.” Leslie strokes the side of the ladder that leads to the door. “What you’re going through is terrible, we know it is, though we can never truly understand. It’s a small comfort, but we want you to have a place that’s just your own, a place that you can use to escape.”

A weak, wobbly smile lifts the corners of the girl’s mouth as her gaze roves over the outside of the wagon, a shadow of the smile I saw the other night, when she was with her friend. I wonder what it would take to get her to smile for real.

“What about Sidney?”

“Sidney can make do.” Leslie’s smile broadens into a grin. “Have you seen the way he’s been eating? I wouldn’t be surprised to see him waddle out of the cook shack one of these mornings like Templeton the Rat.” She dangles a small copper key from the end of a length of faded red ribbon. “It’s like I said—the carnival owes the person in the box. This is the least we can do for you in return.”

The girl’s hand shakes as she reaches for the key, and she wraps her slender fingers around it tightly, as though she’s afraid of dropping it. I lose sight of her as she steps inside, and all I can do now is hope she likes the wagon.

I turn to head home and feel the sickening lurch as my foot lands in a slick patch of mud and whips out from beneath me. I throw out my arm. A flash of white-hot pain flares through my hand, but I manage to keep my footing. I step out of the mud that had nearly sent me sprawling on my ass, unsure as to how I even missed it in the first place. Then my hand begins to throb.

A gash runs diagonally across my palm. Blood wells from the wound, filling my cupped hand. The pain sets in, a deep pulsing starting in my palm and radiating up my arm. I glance over at the trailer and see a splash of red smeared along a sharp flap of metal. I must have sliced my hand on that as I tried to grab onto something to keep from slipping.

Falling on carnival grounds doesn’t happen; the charm sees to that. But my bloodied hand begs to differ.

 

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 *I would like to thank Entangled Publishing greatly for the opportunity to read this book!*

It seems like the past year carnival books have been all the rage. I find them absolutely intriguing and think they are filled with so much magic. But for some reason this was the first carnival book I read in completion. I am beyond happy that I was given the chance to review this book because I needed it in my life! This book was the perfect combination of magic, mystery, characters filled with personality and childhood vibes!

At the beginning I thought this might be inspired from Pinocchio and was getting some major flashbacks to the movie BIG. By A Charm And A Curse was so much different then I expected and found the mystery behind the charm and the curse to be so interesting. Questell really painted a detailed picture of carnival life and the ties that bind so to speak of those individuals who make up the unique performers of the carnival. The characters were full of personality and their own little quirks. I found the whole love aspect a little too fairy tale for me with the whole curse, but enjoyed the story behind the charm and curse associated with Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic.

I enjoyed that this books was driven by the characters and their personal development and growth. Sometimes when there is the background of a carnival or something like it, I feel like it is sometimes easy for the author to focus on that event or element too heavily. Not that I do not enjoy world building or magic around things such as a carnival, but I absolutely hate when the characters are flat and stagnant. I have to admit at the beginning I was annoyed with Emma as a character, yeah a lot of horrible stuff happened but she was so whiney. I loved seeing her evolve throughout the story and was her biggest fan at the end of the book. I was a fan of Ben from the beginning and adored him all the way through. He was perfect and what every girl dreams of when in search of a love interest. It was nice to see that despite what happens to Emma he doesn’t see her as different and fights like crazy for her. There were some other characters that I quite enjoyed, but really wish more time was spent on some of them. I wanted to know more and learn more about them and their background.

Overall, Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic is a carnival I would want to runaway to a be a part of! They were such a family, they cared and defended one another. It was unique and magical. There were some issue with the story, I would have loved more details about the carnival instead of such a heavy focus on the romance. Because of that the plot fell flat at time, but I still found it to be an enjoyable read and has made me want to pick up more carnival focused books!

About Jaime Questell:

JAIME QUESTELL grew up in Houston, Texas, where she escaped the heat and humidity by diving into stacks of Baby Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High books. She has been a book seller (fair warning: book lovers who become book sellers will give half their paychecks right back to their employers), a professional knitter, a semi-professional baker, and now works as a graphic designer in addition to writing.

 

Author Links:

Author Website: jaimequestell.com

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaimequestell/

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jaimequestell

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15396319.Jaime_Questell

Newsletter: http://jaimequestell.com/events/

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Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf | Cover Reveal

In a new series Publishers Weekly has listed as “one of the most anticipated YA’s of 2018”, we’re excited to share the cover for Bring Me Their Hearts! NYT bestselling author Sara Wolf delivers a fast-paced, gritty fantasy sure to thrill fans of Holly Black, Sabba Tahir, and Sarah J. Maas.

About the book:

Zera is a Heartless—the immortal, unaging soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum: if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy Zera’s heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him—every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him—until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally.

Entangled Publishing: https://entangledpublishing.com/bring-me-their-hearts.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07232WZBF

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bring-me-their-hearts-sara-wolf/1126358416

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bring-me-their-hearts/id1237042410

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/bring-me-their-hearts

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35144326-bring-me-their-hearts

Release Date: June 5th, 2018

About Sara Wolf:

Sara Wolf is a twenty-something author who adores baking, screaming at her cats, and screaming at herself while she types hilarious things. When she was a kid, she was too busy eating dirt to write her first terrible book. Twenty years later, she picked up a keyboard and started mashing her fists on it and created the monster known as the Lovely Vicious series. She lives in San Diego with two cats, a crippling-yet-refreshing sense of self-doubt, and not enough fruit tarts ever.

 

Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander| Book Review

20757521LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES BY SHANNON LEE ALEXANDER

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Source: Entangled Teen Publishing (In return for an honest review)

I wanted you to see what real courage is… It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.
–Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

Synopsis:

Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he’ll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswered questions. He’s that smart. But Charlie’s future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl’s neck.

The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she’s counting on the present. She’s not impressed by the strange boy at the donut shop—until she learns he’s a student at Brighton where her sister has just taken a job as the English teacher. With her encouragement, Charlie orchestrates the most effective prank campaign in Brighton history. But, in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy.

By the time he learns she’s ill—and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte’s illness—Charlotte’s gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he’s always relied on or the girl he’s falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second squared) [Goodreads]

Love and Other Unknown Variables Links:
Amazon
B&N
iTunes

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*I would like to thank Entangled Teen for the copy of Love and Other Unknown Variables and the chance to read and review it!*

This is a quirky, heartbreaking, humorously beautiful written book that is filled with love, loss and friendship- perfect for fans of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. 

I have been in a little bit of a reading slump lately and this book was exactly what I needed to pull me out of it. I was instantly pulled into the story and unique writing elements used by Alexander, from the chapter numbering to the use of mathematical and scientific elements that add a nerdy feel that works perfectly with the main character Charlie Hanson! The story was an intense ride of ups and downs, finding yourself and learning that sometimes its okay to deviate from your plans for the future because life throws unexpected twists at you that will change your life forever.

Charlie Hanson is a senior at a school for Mathematics and Science. He is extremely intelligent and is dead set on getting in to MIT and won’t let anything get in his way of this, that is until he met Charlotte Finch. Charlotte is so full of life and is super spunky! She is so different from Charlie yet they both share the same drive in their passions, his is math and hers is art. She wants to live life and explore the world and most of all, be able to make her own decisions regarding her life. After befriending Charlie’s sister Becca, Charlotte is always around and has opened up Charlie’s eyes to wanting more than what he has always planned for his life even if it is only for a short time.This story is heartbreaking/heartwarming at the same time. It shows how one person can change many lives forever and the overall impact from having met that one person. It is a beautiful young love story that has you falling in love with all of the characters for their own qualities and quirks and leaves you in pieces and at an utter loss for words.

The way the story was told and created so beautifully. The writing seemed effortless and flowed so nicely that it made the story gripping and fast paced that I had a hard time putting it down.The writing really brought the characters and story to life. Although this book was focused on a more serious matter the humor sprinkled throughout the book makes you forget about what is really happening.  Also being a huge fan of the book To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee! I loved the way it was used throughout the story and the relevance it had to the whole story! I felt like there were many parallels between the two stories in ways other than just the references, last name of Finch, Charlie and the comparisons with Atticus and a few others!

Shannon Lee Alexander has poured her heart and soul into this story and it is very evident while reading this book. The elements of the book and the way the story unfolds are so realistic and so absolutely beautifully done. The characters are fantastic! They each have a special quality and personality that are so well developed and she stay true to their little quirks throughout the whole story, which I really appreciated. I loved that this was from a male perspective and Charlie was the perfect “hero!” I love that he is so nerdy and has to solve all life problems as you would solve a math problem! The relationships he has with his friends, sister, and Mrs. Dunwitty were so phenomenal. He really grew and developed throughout the whole story and had allowed for each person to help him realize new things about life. I felt the dynamic between Charlie and Charlotte were great.They were able to learn things about life from each other and develop not only love, but a friendship as well. The love felt real and strong and developed over time and was not some silly insta-love story. It was real! I have to say my favorite character was Becca, Charlie’s sister. I love that even as a secondary character you saw growth and development in her and want to know more about what is happening with her (which p.s. it is said that the author is writing a book from her perspective!) Greta and James are amazing friends and truly show what it means to be a supportive friend!

I don’t want to say anymore for fear of spoiling the book (although I have so much to say and fangirl over in this book). I will end with I believe this is a must read this year and it will quickly become a top book in the YA Contemporary world! It has everything you want in a story and definitely left me in tears! If I could give this more than 5 stars I would. (As soon as it comes out I will have to go purchase a physical copy so I can just hug it! )

 

RATING-3

 

unnamedAbout the author:
Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife and mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. Math makes her break out in a sweat. Love and Other Unknown Variables is her debut novel. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family.

 

 

Additional Links to Shannon’s pages:
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The Girl And The Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack|Book Review

18980000THE GIRL AND THE CLOCKWORK CAT BY NIKKI McCORMACK

Genre: YA, Steampunk/Science Fiction/Mystery

Source: Entangled Teen (in return for an honest review!)

Publication Date: September 2, 2014

Amazon| Barnes & Noble |

Synopsis:
Feisty teenage thief Maeko and her maybe-more-than-friend Chaff have scraped out an existence in Victorian London’s gritty streets, but after a near-disastrous heist leads her to a mysterious clockwork cat and two dead bodies, she’s thrust into a murder mystery that may cost her everything she holds dear.

Her only allies are Chaff, the cat, and Ash, the son of the only murder suspect, who offers her enough money to finally get off the streets if she’ll help him find the real killer.

What starts as a simple search ultimately reveals a conspiracy stretching across the entire city. And as Maeko and Chaff discover feelings for each other neither was prepared to admit, she’s forced to choose whether she’ll stay with him or finally escape the life of a street rat. But with danger closing in around them, the only way any of them will get out of this alive is if all of them work together. [Goodreads]

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*I would like to thank Entangled Teen for the copy of The Girl and the Clockwork Cat and the chance to read and review it!*

By reading the synopsis of this book I just knew I had to read it! I have a secret obsession (really not so secret) with adult mystery and have been wanting to get into YA mystery. I was not really sure what to expect from this and had a feeling it might be easy plot of a crime, followed by a girl and a cat solving the mystery, but it was so much more complex than that! There were elements of love and family. I also felt like there were some feminist tones to the story and quite enjoyed that element. I thought it fit the world and time period wonderfully and who doesnt enjoy some kickass females that can protect and handle their own! The world and setting were beautifully done. This had a slight feeling of a Dicken’s novel with the amazing details and descriptions of the streets of Victorian London. I was also a huge fan of the steampunk elements! I always find I am so fascinated by the technology and other industrial components that authors come up with and how well they are executed in the overall story and plot.

This was a fun and captivating story about a girl named Maeko, who is of japanese descent living on the streets of Victorian London. She is a “street rat” , a feisty thief that is making her living out on the streets. Maeko is not lacking in the clever and kickass skills that it takes to make it on her own. She is one badass character that can hold her own on the streets that is predominately “a place for blokes!” The character development and growth with Maeko was well done. I felt like I was not only in the story and could see everything that was happening because of the attention and detail that McCormack went to, but I also felt like I was in Maeko’s head a little and I could understand and see everything from her perspective. I highly enjoyed the other characters as well and thought they added a lot to the story overall. Chaff was like that big brother figure that is tough and smart and uber protective. Then there was Ash who made a fantastic love interest. At the beginning he is quite set in his ways, but throughout the book he really begins to grow on you.  I actually loved Ash as the love interest and enjoyed that it happened naturally and was not insta-love. I found it really adorable and I am always a fan of the hate to like relationships I feel like they add more depth to the characters and help to show character development and growth. I however was a little annoyed with the faint love triangle stuff that appeared, but felt like it didn’t play a big enough role to deter me from the book. I have to say that my favorite character by far was Macak, of course! I love cats and loved the role that he played in this story. He has an awesome geared out fake leg and is one smart cat!

Although I felt the ending was a little rushed and wished the book would have been a little longer (I felt like it was missing some more content) I was left wanting (needing) more! There better be another book, so far from what I have seen this is a stand alone and if that is the case I am not happy. The end did wrap up most of the story, but there are a few things presented at the end that I need answers to.Overall I thought this was a fantastic book! It was an easy fast read that was filled with action and mystery (although a little predictable). It had great strong characters and of course the awesome clockwork cat, Macak! The writing was wonderful, the language and wording were on point and really created a fabulous picture, setting the scene of Victorian London and the gritty and rough life on the streets. The details created a vivid lay out that made the book even more enjoyable. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys great world building, a strong, kickass, witty female lead, action packed steampunk !

RATING-4